With eating disorders affecting at least 30 million Americans of all backgrounds, three Assembly Democrats have sponsored a resolution to help promote awareness about this widespread mental illness. The legislation would designate the final week in February each year as ‘Eating Disorders Awareness Week’ in New Jersey.
Upon the resolution (AJR-28) unanimously passing the full Assembly Monday, sponsors Thomas Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Britnee N. Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic) released the following joint statement:
“Someone suffering from an eating disorder needs professional help to deal with the mental and physical toll their illness takes. Tragically, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and are often comorbid with other serious issues such as anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Many people who have an eating disorder – especially men and people of color – never seek help from a counselor or psychologist. This is likely due to fears regarding a social stigma and the belief that only certain populations can experience these illnesses.
“It’s important for our state to help raise awareness about this issue, including who it affects, what the symptoms are, and what treatments are available to those who need the support.
“Too many lives have been lost to these disorders. Let’s work together to get our residents the help they need.”